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Israel: Misery loves company
by KenRichard2002
28 March 2003 05:11 UTC
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I was in Israel at the time the space shuttle was shuttled.  Israeli friends were excited at the prospect of our two countries being united as never before through shared tragedy.  I joked that perhaps they imagined a suicide bomber was on-board the craft.  It was a joke well recieved.   I am hoping that the United States does not find itself in a situation in Iraq similar to the situation Israel finds itself embroiled in:
Issuing passbooks to an indigenous population; setting up check points throughout the territory;  subjecting entire populations to collective house arrest; tit for tat murders; subjecting one's self and one's community to suicide bombings; etc., etc.

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1-Bethlehem 4 killed including 10 year old girl, 2 seriously injured 
2- Jenin: Three days of curfew and two martyrs in Jenin
3-A Bone from Rafah
4-Rest in God, Christina 
1-Bethlehem 4 killed including 10 year old girl, 2 seriously injured 

Monday, Mar. 25, 2003. 

Israeli occupation forces killed two suspected Hamas members, a 10 
year old girl, another passerby, and shot both of the girl's parents, 
on Monday evening. The car containing the Hamas members was ambushed 
along with another car containing the Sa'ada family of three, and 
passerby Muwafat Badran. The ten year old girl was Christine Sa'ada. 
Both her parents are still in critical condition. The death squad 
left immediately after the attack.

Upon getting word of the ambush, two ISMers from the office in Beit 
Sahour went to the hospital where the body of Mr. Badran had already 
been brought and where Christine was expected. After an hour of 
waiting, we decided to go with a Reuters photographer back to the 
scene. Why was this poor girl not brought to the hospital? We had 
heard that she was still alive. Israeli army would not allow us any 
where near the scene. 

The Photographer was one of the first on the scene. He arrived at the 
same time as the ambulance. The ambulance drivers took the injured to 
Hadassah hospital. They were also able to get the body of Mr.Badran 
to Hussein hospital. However, as soon as the army arrived, they 
kicked out the other ambulance drivers and kept the other bodies at 
the scene. It is a little confusing about exactly what happened 
before the regular army arrived.  

Haaretz reports that the ambush squad snatched two of the bodies when 
they left. The Photographer says that the other bodies were there 
when he arrived which was before the regular army. Either way, the 
ambush squad left while innocent civilians, who they shot, were now 
bleeding to death. I have no idea when Christine died. 

Today we went to the funeral for Mr. Badran. While the funeral was 
taking place, the Army was searching houses in shaerh al sahf area in 
Bethlehem city . Following the funeral, we went to provide witness to 
the searches. There were kids throwing rocks at the army vehicles and 
we tried to calm this. We wanted to negotiate with the soldiers to 
let some school girls go home. They would not. Finally, the soldiers 
were finished and left. We went along with the local TV reporter and 
cameraman to interview the victim

They arrested two young Palestinians suspected to be hamas members. 
They also harassed several other local families by throwing stones at 
the windows and pointing their M-16 at the elderly women. 

For more information contact:

Tom (USA): 052-360-241
Ghassan (Palestine): 054-441-603
2- Jenin: Three days of curfew and two martyrs in Jenin

The situation in Jenin during the last three days has seen continued 
curfew, two martyrs, and one palestinian severly injured.

Monday, 15 year-old Ahmaed Imad Abu Jildah was shot in the head and 
died shortly after, at the Arazi hospital. The killer was an israeli 
sniper on top of an occupied house in the town center. Jildah was one 
of 30-40 young boys throwing rocks at israeli tanks, APCs, and jeeps, 
who were patroling the town center shortly after noon. 

Tuesday, 14 year-old Hakam Bassam Nasar and 12 year-old Nobani Jamal 
Egubaria were both shot in the abdomen trying to climb a moving tank.
Nasar died from his wounds at the Arazi Hospital, and Egubaria is in 
critical condition.

The Israeli Army maintains curfew with a  large number of tanks, 
APCs, and jeeps, patroling night and day. All three victims were 
murdered by curfew. 

At least 26 houses are currently occupied by soldiers who are 
gathering the residents in small rooms behind a locked door. Five ISM 
activists from Sweden and Denmark have been  trying to prevent army 
atrocities since the curfew was declared Sunday morning at 4 AM. 

There were no injuries or martyrs on Sunday.  However, on monday the 
situation intensified. That is when  30-40 young boys began throwing 
rocks, garbage, and anything else available at the tanks, APC,s, and 
Jeeps. The five ISM'ers have been doing everything possible to 
decrease the danger in the town center.

After approximately one hour, a palestinian boy tried to climb a 
driving APC. He was shot in the leg. At that point, all five ISM'ers 
abandoned the site in order to get him to the nearby Arazi Hospital. 
Only a few minutes later, after all ISMer's were gone, Israeli 
soldiers shot and killed Ahmaed Imad Abu Jildah. They shot him in the 
head and within twenty minutes he was dead.

At 3 PM Monday,  the Martyr Doctor Khalid Suliman Hospital in Jenin 
was targeted by the Israeli army. A commander had ordered 
the manager to meet him outside of the hospital. The commander told 
the hospital manager that the hospital was a hiding place for several 
young men and that it would be searched by soldiers within an hour.

Entering hospitals in search for wanted men is a common way for the 
Israeli army to violate both Israeli law and the human rights 
constituted in the 4th Geneva Convention.

The five ISM'ers entered the hospital to be present and provide 
witness. . They contacted Mediciners and Frontiers in order to 
increase pressure on the DCO. They also contacted the ISM media 
office to send out a press release. Time went by and the 
soldiers never showed up inside the hospital area.

Later on Monday, ISM approached an occupied house in the refugee 
camp. After some negotiations, one ISM'er was allowed to enter the 
house. More than twenty palestinians were being held behind a locked 
door in two small rooms. More than half of them were children, 
including a baby approximately nine months old. They were in no 
emergent need of either food or medicine.

On tuesday, the intense situation continued. ISM entered the occupied 
house in the refugee camp and delivered food, cigarettes and milk 
powder for the baby. The palestinians in another occupied house in 
the town center were in need of medicine; so two ISM activists 
brought it to the door but were denied access by the soldiers.

A third house in the town center was abondend by 13 soldiers at noon, 
following 24 hours of occupation. The family of five was terrified 
that they would return, so ISM held presence until late evening.

During the entire curfew, the ISM have been riding with the Red 
Crescent ambulances to ensure their freedom of movement.

For More Information contact: 

Lasse (Denmark): 059-386-896
3-A Bone from Rafah
By Starhawk

While bombs are falling on Baghdad, killing uncounted numbers, and my 
friends around the world are marching, blockading, shutting down 
corporations and roadways and cities in protest, I find myself in 
Rafah, at the southern border of the Gaza strip, dealing intimately 
with one womanıs death.

   A week ago Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by a bulldozer as 
she tried to prevent it from demolishing Palestinian homes.  Iıve 
come down here to support her friends and the activists who were with 
her and saw the murder.  Their accounts leave no doubt that the 
soldier who drove the bulldozer saw her and chose to kill her.

   Rachel has become a Œshahidı, a Palestinian martyr.  She is, in 
fact, one of over a thousand shahids from this intifada.  Their 
posters adorn walls all over Palestine.  They are the fighters who 
are killed in battle and the children shot on their way to school. 

 They are the suicide bombers and the boys who throw stones at tanks 
in a gesture of defiance, and the Œcollateral damageı every time the 
Israelis blow up a political leader in a crowded tenement with 
missiles.  And now they include Rachel, with her all-American blond 
beauty.  On one poster: she looks earnest and sweet as any graduating 
student in  High School yearbook.  In another, she is giving a 
speech, hair tied back, mouth open, her whole face ablaze with 

   Iım listening to her friends describe her death and holding their 
hands as they cry and thinking about how all of this pain and grief 
and sorrow is being multiplied over and over again right now, in 
Baghdad, on people who are nameless and faceless and not reported on 
by our media.  As Rachelıs death would have gone unremarked had she 
been Palestinian.  You didnıt hear, I imagine, about the death 
of .Ahmed, a fifty year old street cleaner from Rafah, who heard 
about Rachelıs death and stepped outside to smoke a cigarette.  He 
was gunned down on his doorstep, for no particular reason anyone can 
fathom.  He has his own Shahid poster, which is up on the wall next 
to Rachelıs, and we mourn him, too.

   The Palestinians have traditions about Shahids‹the poster is one.
  The Shahidıs body is not touched with water: the blood on the body 
is sacred, and bloody the body is laid into the grave.

   These traditions are of some comfort to the Palestinians but are 
difficult for her friends who cannot escape her face and their loss 
anywhere in this city, and who struggle to remember her not as a 
saint but as the real woman that she was: sometimes strong, sometimes 
weak, sometimes loving, sometimes irritable, funny, annoying, 
angry‹all the things human beings are.  Rachel was a courageous women 
but no more so, really, than any of these others who have come here 
on their school breaks or in the midst of their life changes to stand 
in front of tanks and walk kids to school and sleep in a different, 
threatened house each night.  They are all remarkable, 
courageous‹which doesnıt mean noble and saintly but just that at some 
point in their lives they decided not to let fear stop them from 
doing something they hope will make some slight positive impact on an 
unendurable situation.  What is remarkable about them is that they 
are not so remarkable, not really so different than anyone else. A 
laid-off dot commer, a football player, a website designer, a 
student, a sweet young man who drives a horse and carriage in the 
park:some are deeply political, involved in actions for many years. 
 Some just somehow found themselves drawn to come here. 

   I am drinking coffee with Chris, who was Rachelıs friend and 
encouraged her to come to Gaza, and Mohammed, who has lived his whole 
live in the Gaza strip and works with a human rights agency. Mohammed 
is telling us how he felt on his trip to Japan when he took the train 
from Tokyo to Osaka. 
   "I had never before been such a long way without a single 
checkpoint, without having to show a passport or an ID card, without 
seeing a soldier," he says.  "That was when I knew what freedom felt 

We are talking about sadness and death and what we believe.
Iıve been having ongoing dialogues with various friends about 
compassion, and I admit that I just canıt get there with the 
bulldozer operator.  The closest I can come to cmpassion is a kind of 
blank incomprehension.  Chris suggests that Rachel died because the 
soldier didnıt see her.  Not that he didnıt see her physically, for 
it is only too clear that he did, but that in some larger sense he 
didnıt See her, see her as a human being, see her as a precious life 
to be valued.

   That Unseeing is the root of my own peopleıs relationship to the 
Palestinians.  I was never taught to hate them‹only to discount 
them.  When they taught me the story of Israelıs founding in Hebrew 
School, the Palestinians were brushed aside, either not mentioned or 
dismissed as somehow not mattering.

   I can understand how, to my grandmother raised in abject poverty 
in a Russian shtetl and living in slightly-less-abject poverty in 
Duluth, the Palestinians could disappear‹she never came to this land, 
never met one of its people.  I can comprehend how Jews from the 
concentration camps and refugees fleeing Nazi Europe could long for a 
state of their own, and how from Hitlerıs Germany Palestinians 
werenıt much of a visible presence in the consciousness of terrified 
people needing a refuge.

   But those who were actually there on the land, creating the Œfacts 
on the groundı of their time, must have noticed and deliberately 
chosen to unsee that there was another people standing in the way, 
doing their best not to be bulldozed into oblivion.  As Sharon and 
Bush and all their supporters and all who stand by silently and 
justify the current murders donıt see.  As we are not shown the 
victims of the bombs of Baghdad.

   Thereıs a Bible story haunting me that seems tangled up with this 
all.  Itıs one they never focused on in Hebrew School‹the story of 
the Levite and the Concubine.  It goes like this:

   A Levite was travelling with his concubine and is given shelter 
for the night by an old man in the town of Gideon in the territory of 
the tribe of Benjamin.  During the night a pack of men demand to have 
sex with him.  Instead, the host and the Levite send out the 
concubine, who is gang-raped and left for dead on the doorstep.  When 
the traveller reaches home, he cuts up her body into twelve pieces 
and sends one to each tribe, to call them to war.

   The war is bloody and involves several rounds of smiting and 
killing sixteen thousand here, twenty thousand there, in a frenzy  
almost as senseless as our current assault on Iraq, until Benjamin is 
defeated and all the other tribes swear not to give their daughters 
to wife with Benjamin.  Whereupon they realize they have committed 
genocide, wiped out a tribe of their own.  Repenting of this ethnic 
cleansing, they find some innocent town which has not participated in 
this oath and simply kill all the men and all the women who have 
known men, and give all the virgins to Benjamin.

   I am thinking about this as I try to fathom what has been done to 
the mind of the bulldozer operator to make him capable of 
deliberately crushing a beautiful young woman under his machine, and 
trying to comprehend the hatemail and diatribes her death has evoked 
along with the paeons of praise and the martyr posters.

   And I conclude that the soldier was only doing what colonization 
makes necessary.  To be a colonizer, we cannot afford to see the 
colonized as fully human.

   So when you tell me, "The Palestinians are taught to hate‹ Barak 
offered them everything but they donıt want peace--they donıt love 
their children‹they are animals‹there is no one to talk to" I 
say, "That is what colonization requires you to believe."

   It diminishes you, as the driver of that bulldozer is diminished 
by his act far, far more than the crushing of Rachelıs body can ever 
diminish her.  

   And if I could, I would send you a bone.  Not to call you to war, 
but away from it.  Something you cannot avoid seeing, touching. 
 Something to make the blood on our hands visible, unmistakeable.  A 
limb, a shoulder, a hunk of flesh dripping real blood, from the 
rubble beneath the bulldozer, the doorstep, from the child shot dead 
in the gunfight or buried under the house, from the bomb shelters of 
Baghdad and from the bloody busses of Tel Aviv.  A bone red with 
blood to say:

   This is what colonization requires: blood soaked sand, holy earth 
defiled with death, human sacrifice.

For more information contact:
Starhawk (USA):059-713-923
4-Rest in God, Christina 
Dear friends,
Early last evening I was on the phone to a friend in the US, when 
gunfire erupted nearby. It was loud enough that my friend on the other
end of the line could hear it.  A few seconds later another loud round
went off.  Moments later I could hear the sound of an ambulance
approaching.  The local television station was soon showing a group of
Palestinian medics trying to carry away someone who had been killed, a
car with the entire back window blasted out and the trunk riddled with
bullet holes, and a few Israeli soldiers in uniform keeping watch on
The scene was on the hill just 4 houses up the street from my own, so
I immediately called to see if everyone there was all right, figuring
any bullets that went over the car could easily have entered the front
of the house. Fortunately, everyone there was fine.  The early news
was that 2 men had been killed, allegedly men that an IDF undercover
unit was trying to arrest.  But, this was not the final story.
Israeli accounts were that someon in the first car shot at the
undercover unit and then the unit returned fire.  Another car
approached and the soldiers opened fire on it as well, saying they
feared they were under attack.
This second car contained a young Christian family - the father and
mother and their 2 daughters, age 15 and 10.  The youngest, Christina
Sa'ada, a bright 10-year old and a student at St. Joseph's School in
Bethlehem, was killed instantly.  Her sister was shot in the knee and
the father in the side.  According to witnesses the undercover unit
put the wounded family in their cars and sped them to the checkpoint,
sending them by ambulance to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. 

Christina's body was kept at the checkpoint and was evidently not
allowed to be picked up until 11:00 pm last night.  The bodies of 2 of
the men that were killed in the first car were also taken away.  The
third man killed, who just happened to be in the car and was not
involved in any political action according to his family and friends,
was finally taken to the local hospital. 
Many questions must be asked about this 'operation,'  not least why
would the unit open up with a barrage of bullets in the middle of the
intersection between a central market area and a residential area on a
main transition street in the early evening hours when many people
could be passing by?
Christina's funeral will most likely not take place for a couple of
days, as the father has not yet recovered enough for the doctors to
tell him of her death. Marianna, Christina's 15 year old sister, is
recoverying today from the surgery to remove bullet fragments from her
As war rages to the east of us, we continue to bury the dead here.
When will it end?
Rest in God, Christina - we'll miss your bright smile...
Rev. Sandra Olewine
United Methodist Liaison - Jerusalem

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